Author Archives: Dana

Asparagus Hominy Salad with Buttermilk Dressing

This recipe is an oldie but a goodie.  I’ve been making it for years – it’s from Heidi Swanson, a genius vegetarian who’s taught me so much.  Spring is the perfect time to make this salad.  It’s an asparagus salad and I found lots of asparagus at the farmers market!  Yay!!!!!

Two things struck me about this salad when I first started making it.  First, hominy.  I’m not sure if I ever had hominy before this salad.  The best hominy is the dried version – when I can, I buy mine from Rancho Gordo.  The dried hominy transforms this salad into extraordinary.  You taste the corn, you taste a slight saltiness from boiling the hominy in salted water….  It’s amazing.  Now, you can use canned and its still a perfectly lovely salad.  In fact I’ve done that here… I was out of dried hominy and I wanted to put my local, seasonal asparagus to good use.  To imitate dried and cooked hominy season it well before adding it to the salad.  I may try leaving it in a salt water solution next time if I don’t have dried.  I can’t let an asparagus season go by without making this salad. Continue reading

yogurt, blueberry, and oatmeal crisp

Earth Day Leftover Oatmeal Crisps

yogurt, blueberry, and oatmeal crisp

Today is Earth Day. However, I like to treat every day like Earth Day. Since moving to Hawaii the need to reduce my consumption and produce less trash has become even more evident. It wasn’t until I moved here that it hit home where “away” is. We throw stuff “away”…. where is away? Hawaii is “away”. Most beaches along the Pacific rim are “away”. Walk along the stunning beaches and you’ll quickly discover that the sand is littered with broken bits of plastic. It comes from every imaginable source – toys, bottles, toothpaste caps and floss, straws – anything that’s made of plastic is winding up on the beach. These gorgeous, ecologically diverse beaches….. It’s even more disconcerting when gigantic fishing nets wash ashore. They bring with them straggled marine life – each net weighs thousands of pounds. If you live some place landlocked you don’t see this, but you probably have a landfill near you and sometimes you can smell the refuse.   Plastic use and throwing away food are two of the biggest kitchen involved environmental blights we can easily diminish. Continue reading

The Sweeter Side of Ricotta – Two Ways – Lacy Brown Butter Cookies and Coffee and Ricotta Marbled Cake

I fault Stella Parks.  It’s 100% on her.  She posted some cookies she mistakenly made with browned butter and ricotta.  They really looked good….so I went out and bought ricotta, I couldn’t help it….. oh holy heck, these cookies are addictive.  You won’t be able to stop eating them.  I sure couldn’t. My son couldn’t.  My mom could but that’s because she has incredible will power and there were already four hands on the cookie plate and we were way too fast.  They didn’t last long, not even a day. Continue reading

A New Way With Broccoli – Rigatoni with Roman Broccoli Sauce

I’m not always a broccoli lover.  I certainly wasn’t when I was pregnant.  Too pungent.  But, I’m liking this broccoli dish – it’s subtle, but tasty.  Bright with added lemon zest.

I came across it in Milk Street, the Christopher Kimble spinoff of America’s Test Kitchen.  I have to tell you, I’m loving that magazine – it’s my current favorite food magazine and I was never a big fan of ATK. Continue reading

For the Love of Buttermilk – Fried Okra and Cornbread

I recently, and somewhat unfortunately, discovered that buttermilk really does make all the difference in recipes. I used to sour regular milk with vinegar or lemon juice and call it a day. I thought it really only made a difference in texture when it came to fine cakes, but for everything else, soured milk was fine. I was wrong. And while that’s great to know, it’s something that’s hard to find and keep on hand in my current location. I’m both jazzed and a little dismayed. But, I made the best fried okra and cornbread ever this weekend and it was mostly thanks to buttermilk. Continue reading

Cinnamon Rolls

Happy Christmas!  I just spent the morning baking off some cinnamon rolls for a friend who’s in town.  I can’t convey the joy I feel seeing an old friend, which of course is making me cry.  In a lifestyle where people come and go and family and friends are far away, I get to see a friend who I’ve known for over ten years.  Which isn’t even that long, but it is in my world.  Please don’t get me wrong, I’ve made some new friends who are a permanent part of my life now.  I love them dearly and I’m so grateful that I met them.  But, it’s so nice to see old friends too.  It’s making my Christmas. Continue reading

Peanut Butter Stars

Merry Christmas ya’ll!  It’s a beautiful day in Hawaii….somewhere in the 70’s.  Not exactly a white Christmas but a beautiful one nonetheless.  In case you need an easy cookie for a party, here’s a good one.  It comes from one of my mom’s friends.  I don’t remember her name, but I remember her food and it was all really good.  Sorry mom’s friend!   Continue reading

Nigella’s Orzotto with Peas and Pancetta (or Bacon)

You guys, this pregnancy is kicking my butt! I’m having a hard time managing to get dinner on the table. So, what’s a preggo to do? A preggo makes this. It’s easy, fast, delicious with a simple clean up.  It’s now on regular rotation at our house.  Let’s discuss: Nigella (one of my most favorite people to grace this Earth) takes orzo and treats it as risotto.  Then she adds peas, parmesan, and pancetta – bacon in my case.  It really is fast and easy.  And it’s husband friendly with the meat.  I’m sure you could substitute a sausage of your choosing if you liked as well. If I wanted to make this more Hawaiian I’d add Portuguese sausage in lieu of the bacon.

Nigella and I differ in one procedure only.  She fries up her pancetta and leaves it in the pan and adds all the rest of the ingredients, including the boiling water, on top.  But, that makes for floppy bacon – and I can’t abide by flaccid bacon.  So, I cook the slices whole, remove, and chop up.  Then add back to the pan at the end.  If you’re like some family members, Scott, and prefer flaccid bacon or pancetta, then by all means, add the water on top.  Possibly pancetta doesn’t get as floppy.  We don’t have pancetta here (even at Whole Foods!), so I don’t know.  I also fry up the bacon well ahead of time.  You could fry, chop, and refrigerate a couple days ahead of time if you wanted to.  I do this often for holiday recipes involving bacon.

So, if you’re looking for a simple meal, one that eases your weekday burden yet still treats you well, this meal is for you.  Also, if you’re Nigella, and for some reason you’re actually reading this – you’re the best and you’re well loved in this household.

Orzotto with Peas and Pancetta (or Bacon)

Adapted very lovingly from Nigellissima by Nigella Lawson

Ingredients

2 Tbs. garlic-flavored oil (I use regular)

6 oz. cubed pancetta (I use 5-6 slices of bacon)

1 1/4 cups frozen petits pois

8 oz. orzo pasta

2 1/2 cups boiling water

Salt, to taste

1 Tbs. soft butter

2 Tbs. grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Directions

Boil 2.5 cups water in the microwave – or I do it in a little pan on the stove.  Or if you’re feeling particularly British or ladylike, use a tea kettle!

Warm the oil in a heavy pan that will hold everything later. (Get that folks? One pan gets dirty!) A Dutch oven or saucepan of 10 inches diameter should be big enough – I use my big saucepan. Add the pancetta and cook, stirring, until crisp or if you’re using bacon, fry until crisp. I remove the bacon after it’s all crisped and then chop on the side. Add the peas and orzo.

Pour in the boiling water. Add salt (cautiously, the pancetta/bacon is salty, as is the Parmigiano-Reggiano later); then turn down the heat and let simmer for 10 minutes, though check on it a couple of times and give a stir or two, to stop it from sticking and to see if you need to add a little more water.

When it’s ready, the pasta should be soft and starchy and the water absorbed. Add the chopped bacon back in. Beat the butter and Parmigiano-Reggiano into the pan, and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. (I’ve found it doesn’t need salt and I only pepper my husbands plate of food.)

Serve immediately in warm bowls. According to Nigella, this serves 2 hungry grown-ups or 4 small children. I’ve found that it feeds two hungry adults and provides a little extra for tomorrow’s lunch. However, if my toddler were to eat this with us (can’t figure out why he won’t) there wouldn’t be extra and might not be enough he was really hungry. So, for more than two people be safe and double it. I like to serve some sautéed greens with this meal. If I can be bothered.

 

Quinoa and Spinach Patties

Quinoa Patties of Goodness

Quinoa and Spinach Patties

I have a lot of admiration for Heidi Swanson. She’s very artsy fartsy – much more so than I could ever be, but even more she is a steadfast cultivator of healthy, natural, and delicious food. To be honest, when I hear “healthy” food I cringe because I associate it with extra powders and “superfoods”. But, I do love seasonal, natural eating; less of the processed stuff. And Heidi makes it so good!

Heidi is the one who gave us quinoa cakes, which I love and make often, baked oatmeal, and many others and is so much of a trendsetter and innovator that even folks like Yotom Ottolenghi find inspiration with her. She’s put forth so many good ideas that are copied so prolifically that she doesn’t get the credit for a lot of her work. But, she is a trendsetter and innovator to be sure. She knows herself and cultivates her being and her work – which is a form of genius in and of itself. Continue reading

Beet and Pomegranate Smoothie - At Dana's Table

Beet Pomegranate Smoothie

Beet and Pomegranate Smoothie - At Dana's Table

Do you want to know something embarrassing?  I really love beets.  Like, Dwight Schrute, love beets.  I love them raw, steamed, pickled, canned, roasted…..I love them.  I don’t even know many people who like them.  I love their sweetness and since they’re high in fiber they don’t spike your blood sugar.  They have lots of folate and potassium.  They’re just wonderful.  And apparently, their nutritional value increases when canned!  Who’d a thunk it?   Continue reading